This is a sponsored article provided by Bitrefill.
Creating an e-commerce ramp for Bitcoin users, Bitrefill has set itself apart with a mission to revolutionize the way that bitcoin can function as a true everyday currency worldwide.
Established in 2015, Bitrefill is the world’s largest crypto-only e-commerce site. To explain some of the philosophy that went behind the development of this company, as well as some of the places that it looks to expand in the future, we spoke with the project’s Chief Communications Officer John Carvalho.
“Bitrefill has existed for about five years,” he said, “starting out with prepaid mobile phone refills, then adding our first gift cards in mid-2018 and our first Lightning Network connectivity services in 2019.”
“There are tons of challenges in growing Bitrefill,” he added, “including integrations and sourcing of products, user experience and features of the platform and identifying optimal target markets and products to provide.”
Carvalho said that, ultimately, at Bitrefill, “we have the usual challenges of any Bitcoin company with customer service and specialized expertise. Overall, we have managed to grow aggressively in recent years and continue to embrace new challenges as opportunities.”
This consistent growth and ability to overcome obstacles stems from a mission to build Bitcoin’s “circular economy” — a system in which the original cryptocurrency serves as a financial instrument for users who don’t have to “cash out” to receive products or services.
“Bitrefill is helping build a circular economy where bitcoin is money for everyday use,” Carvalho explained. “We value the utility of Bitcoin and its latest technologies and leverage them at an international scale. Crypto users should come to us as an alternative off-ramp from bitcoin into products in services, opting out from fiat banking entirely.”
Unlike some of Bitrefill’s competitors, like Gyft, Carvalho said that his company “offers a deep international product catalog of digital prepaid products, as well as enterprise solutions for embedded shopping and Lightning connectivity.”
Bitrefill’s “users need not only speed but portability and privacy,” Carvalho said. “Some Bitcoiners store all or most of their value in crypto, and they still need to live their lives and acquire products and services.”
He added that this sense of efficiency can never sacrifice fundamental user protections, due to his belief that “there is no freedom without privacy, and Bitcoin companies can strive to have as little custody and exposure to private information as is required by law.”
Carvalho was particularly interested in talking about the future technical applications of the Lightning Network.
“In order to unlock the commercial side of Bitcoin’s circular economy, you need instant P2P capabilities,” he said. “Lightning makes bitcoin a feasible payment option for consumer purchases and makes it possible for B2B [applications] to require less trust and have more automation in their settlement processes.”
Carvalho added that, in the future, he “would like to see Bitrefill demonstrate useful products and services that leverage the unique capabilities Lightning offers.”
“We’re working to identify where the most pent-up liquidity is in the circular economy and provide products or services to let it flow,” Carvalho said. “In 2020, we will continue to expand our product catalog, platform feature set and demonstrate new Lightning deployments with partners. Plus, of course, a pile of top-secret plans!”
Ultimately, the love and belief in Bitcoin as a future model for an economic rehaul does much to power the engine of Bitrefill.
“Bitcoin gives us all a chance to rethink and rebuild how we use money,” Carvalho concluded. “We can all find ways to help build out and participate in a Bitcoin circular economy. Bitrefill is doing its best to grow with Bitcoin, and we are always listening to our customers for feedback.”